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Friday, April 20, 2018

Four Steps to Fighting Spiritual Warfare

In review of Ephesians 6:12 it says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).

Today’s verse comes from the last part of Ephesians 6 where Paul gives us heads-up about our true enemy and the tools (armor) God gives us to battle against Satan and his armies. Paul tells me to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. I am to put on all of God's armor so that I will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the enemy. For I'm not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rules and authorizes in the unseen world, against might powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so I will be able to resist the enemy when the time of evil comes upon me. Then after the battle I will be able to stand firm. So stand my ground by putting on the belt of truth and the armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as my helmet, and lastly take and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Also Paul tells me to pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in my prayers for all believers everywhere.

As a follower, I will battle against the evil forces of fallen angels headed by the devil, who is a vicious fighter. In order to withstand their attacks, I must depend on God's strength and use every piece of his armor he provides. Those who are not "flesh-and-blood" enemies are demons over who the enemy has control. They are very real. As such I face a powerful army whose goal is to get me off track and ultimately try to defeat Christ's church.

When I first believed in Christ, these beings became my enemy, and they try everything they can to try and turn me away from Christ and back to my sinful life. Although I'm assured victory, I still must engage in the struggle with them until Christ returns, because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord's side. Therefore I need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided this by giving me his Holy Spirit and his armor that surrounds me.

For me to pray at all times means to make quick, brief prayers my habitual response to every situation I meet throughout the day. Another way is to just order my life around God's desires and teachings such that my very life becomes a prayer. To do this doesn’t mean that I need to isolate myself from others and from daily work, just so that I can pray constantly. I can make prayer my life and my life a prayer while living in a world that needs God's powerful influence. I should also pray for other believers in Christ; so pray for the Christians I know and for the church around the world.

I’m also reminded that God can use me in any circumstance to do his will. Even as I pray for a change in my circumstances, I should also pray that God will accomplish his plan through me right where I am. Knowing God's eternal purpose for me will ultimately help me through the difficult times.

There are four things I need to do when I’m facing spiritual warfare:

1. Acknowledge the adversary. Satan is real (1 Peter 5:8-9). Why would God send his Son to fight what does not exist? The Bible says in 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil” (NLT). When I’m being attacked, it’s proof that I’m a believer. The more I make an impact for God, the more the Devil is going to fight me. I’ll never outgrow it; it just gets more intense.

2. Accept God-given authority. Most believers don’t understand about the authority they have against the Devil. Matthew 28:18-19 says we have all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Then Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples” (NIV). He transfers the authority to me. He does that because he’s given us a specific mission: sharing the message of Jesus as his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).

3. Put on God’s armor. When Paul wrote about the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-17, he was in prison chained to a Roman guard. Paul used the Roman centurion as a model for spiritual armor. Paul says that just as the Roman soldier was properly dressed to do battle, we also need to be dressed for battle.

4. Aim the artillery. The battlefield for spiritual warfare is primarily in my thought life (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The weapons God gives me to demolish arguments are humility, faith, truth, and praise. Take every thought captive!

Bottom Line:
Our biggest struggles won’t come from people but from Satan’s army

What this means to me:
My biggest struggle in life isn’t always with people, but rather fallen angels who under the control of the enemy.

In summary, I need to be strong knowing the God I serve is on my side and all powerful. He has given me not only authority over the enemy but tools I can use to battle him when he attacks. I need to accept that this battle will always be present and crop up as I work toward accomplishing God’s goals. I should also make brief prayers my first response to situations. Lastly arrange my life on doing his will and be ready for the battle. God will use what’s happening to do his will.

This morning I pray, “Lord, I put on the helmet of salvation that will protect me from the thoughts the Devil will try to give me today. I don’t want to think the Devil’s thoughts. I don’t want to think my thoughts. I want to think your thoughts, so that I may be a voice for you. I put on the belt of truth. Lord, I want to share the truth, not falsehood. I want to lead people into righteousness.”